If I had time to watch a Zato, it might be this one. My tube time is currently divided between Baby Signing Time, Your Baby Can Sign, The Wiggles, Mickey Mouse (Motherfrakkin’) Clubhouse, Yo Gabba Gabba, and specially selected Sesame Street Episodes. I’ve found that many children’s shows/series get progressively worse with each season they are continued. Yo Gabba is the best example of this, but not the only one. Sesame Street followed this pattern for decades, until they started doing genius musical episodes again.
In a sense, I’ve been employing a Zatoichi of my own here. The baby in Nam’s belly is a week bigger than normal, and Nam feels very heavy, so she goes to get massages 2 or 3 times a week now. I also went last week after my fever, because my shoulders were all bunched up and I couldn’t sleep.
The masseuse is a blind man named Moh Ken (“Moh” is an honorific for doctors and other health practitioners). Moh Ken is a funny sorta guy; he doesn’t carry a cane sword, but he’s strong as hell from massaging people all day. When he massaged my shoulders, I was very aware that he could have snapped my collarbone like a twig any time he felt like it (and yes, this is a funny thing to be thinking during a relaxing massage if you’re not at least a little bit strange yourself). Moh Ken carries around this talking pocket watch that tells him time at the press of a button. His senses are fine-tuned enough to tell when people are moving around huim in the confined space of the massage shop.
I watched him change the sheets on the massage table this last time, and it was just fascinating. On one hand, I wanted to offer help (I mean, he was double-sheeting the table with fitted sheets so that he only had to change them after every two customers – pretty cool!), but on the other hand, I knew he would just swat me away with his rough blind samurai hands…
All previous Zatoichi posts
I don’t even have time to watch Zato anymore, but I love these graphics and wanted to continue from where I left off a couple years ago in Japan.
All my previous Zatoichi posts.
Katsu doing the gas face.
I suddenly realize that in my quest to post all of the Zatoichi jackets, I have been negligent: I left out #1!
Bust a move, Katsu!
Real men wear haramaki (to literally hold their guts in if they get slashed).
I’ve been delinquent in my Zatoichi viewing. I will finish them all before I leave, however.
Katsu Shintaro embodies so much of what is lost in modern Japan. And that is of course what makes these movies so cool.